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tv   U.S. Senate Senators Reaction to Stimulus Vote  CSPAN  March 23, 2020 8:45am-9:52am EDT

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ago. changes to the legislation are being made even as we speak. the bill can and must continue to improve. we are closer than we been at any time over the past 48 hours to an agreement, but there are still too many problems in the proposed legislation. can we overcome the remaining disagreements in the next 24 hours? yes. we can and we should. i yield the floor. >> mr. president, we not only can it we should, we must, we must pass this legislation. i was very t disappointed to see that my call is on the other side of the aisle chose to vote no on even the ability move forward with debating this legislation tonight and to my collie, the democratic leader who said this is a highly partisan bill, that's just not the case -- my colleague -- let's put the partisanship a psychic let's do what's best for thee american people. i will tell you that over the past several days to a
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bipartisan process we sat down, democrat and republican, in four different task forcege on put together the elements of the legislation. as a result, the bill before you tonight, the one we're talking about, reflects republican priority t and democratic priorities. and the gore did takendal the te to walk through it and to talk about some ofs those the people understand what's in this legislation. i was pleased to see the democratic leader say at the end he believes we can figure this out over the next several hours. he said 24 hours. i hope it's not 24 hours. we can't wait that long. we need to move and move quickly. we see with the marketed and globally. we know with the markets are going to do here. we've seen with the futures are important we see thehe impact ad our states, among our citizens. democratic leaders had more money needs to be put against hospitals and states and workers. there is an unprecedented amount of money for all three of those in this legislation, unprecedented. and necessary by the way.
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because we are in a crisis. but you say there's nothing here that helps hospitals, oh, my gosh, i'm going to talk about this with specificity but $100 billion, pretty good start. 75 billion of which goes to hospitals. to say there's nothing for workers, the unemployment insurance provisions in here come from the democratic side of the aisle. it's the most generous unemployment insurance plus-up by four ever in the history of our country. adds more money to unemployment insurance than the current system has been by the way, it adds eight times more funding into the unemployment system for the rest of this year than is currently the expense. think about that. that's not generous? and by the way, we republicans also agree that those who lose their job for no fault of their own should bes able to get a generous unappointed check while we work through this coronavirus and get our economy back up and
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going again. so let me walk through some of this. this coronavirus is something that is urgent for us to address. it's closed businesses. it's close to schools. it's a change every aspect of our daily life. it's left us uncertain, and for many america to its left, literally selfol isolated. it's put tremendous strain on our healthcare system and that's why this legislation addresses about. our amazing first responders, our ems, our police officers are doing their part as those our physicians, our nurses, other medical professionals who were on the front lines combating this disease. god bless them. it is also done great damage to what was a strong and growing economy. only a few weeks ago with unemployment numbers that were at 50 your low. with 19 straight months as of last month of employment increases, and over 3% wage growth every month. but now, now we see businesses
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shuttering or kweisi thousands and now millions of americans ofmployed through no fault their own. -- we see thousands -- the purpose of this legislation is to allow people to get back on their feet, to allow as to get back to normalcy. extranet times like this require us to unify as the country at i see it in my home state of ohio and around the country. everybody has a role to play. everybody needs to be practicing social distancing as they call it, the sick, washing your hands quickly, using hand sanitizer. part of the strategy of flattening the curve as you've seen, would use dr. fauci and others the presentations, is we need to reduce our overall risk for exposure so we don't overwhelm our nation's public health system. we can all play a role in this and in the end that will help save lives of our family members, of our neighbors, of our friends and people we may never be bute we come in contact with animals vulnerable in our society if you follow the
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guidelines put out by the cdc guidelines. we're going toav be safer. were going to save lives. it all depends on us, all of us doing that. but it also depends on what we do here in the united states congress both in slowing the spread through the lips that efforts i've talked about tonight, but also in getting this economy back on its feet so people can get back to work and get a paycheck and begin to make ends meet. and ohio we've been taking the lead on this. we have been pretty aggressive and sane people need to social distance that restaurants and bars need to close the wee one of the first couple of states to say that. schools need to be close. governor mike dewine, our ohio department ofs health, dr. amy acton, assistant director, i think they've done a good job in responding to thisri unprecedend crisis. as of this morning we have 247 confirmed cases, and three deaths. by the way the first person to
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die in ohio was a man i know. i knew. i knew him and i respected him. his name was mark wagner senior on toledo, ohio. he contracted this disease and succumbed to it. unfortunately we are going to see more cases, more deaths what we are doing the things to begin to contain this, to begin to slow the spread and that needs to happen at every level including here and that's why this legislation is so important to pass tonight. two weeks ago congress started this effort by passing the first major relief effort called phase one which was $8.3 $.3 billion to address health care needs associated with this pandemic. ohio has already received $15.5 million by the way from that first phase one p legislation. and, of course, much more needed to be done. by the way we need to listen to the people who are most affected by an we've been doing that. i was joined by infectious disease expert from you visit cincinnati dr. george on a
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facebook live town hall last week so we can answer questions about this crisis. he told us what the health care system needs. we know whatha it needs and we responding in this legislation. last week i hosted conference was here in washington with a number of heavily impacted groups including the hospitals back in ohio and other people in healthcare,h healthcare provides with our food banks in with our small business owners, with workers come with nonprofits from all around the state. the charities who are out there on the front lines doing all they can to help if we spoke to employers of all sizes the web conference calls with hotels, with restaurants and moore's hearing directly from those key stakeholders helped us to understand and this reflects what our needs are in this community. we have to continue to listen to people because things are changing, and as there is an there,g threat out congress needs to be evolving as well.
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so last week we passed the second major bill called the phase two package would provide federal funds individuals exposed to the virus to get healthy. as an example, if you want to get tested for the virus, that is now free. our hospitals needed more resources to combat the health crisis so we provided more care, more funding for our healthcare network. i'm glad the president signed that bill immediately intoat la. we also provided additional resources to state medicaid program and concerned about being overwhelmed by an influx of individuals suffering from the virus. phase two provided needed help in terms of more masks, markdowns and other protective gear, and more funding for the anti-viral therapies that are coming. that's incredibly important. people know if they get this virus and they can have something like tamiflu for the regular flu, that gives them a lot, a lot of reassurance and
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comfort, and it's necessary to protect the health of our citizens. that legislation also put money into getting the vaccine going as quickly as possible. it's not going to be here soon. it takes a while to get the vaccine going but it will be done at unprecedented speed because of the funny were putting into it and provides expansion for emergency food assistance including for childrenie who rely on free or reduced lunch from the school cafeteria and no longer have access to those needs. it provides paid sick leave and family leave benefits to some lustily work because the coronavirus now knows they can still pay the bills. most important late this paid leave is provided at 100% from the federal government dollar small business. that's really important. larger businesses tend to have paid to leave but now we have a way for everybody under 500 employees to be able to get that paid leave to the federal government reimbursement. it's good we acted on phase onee and phase two as i talked about that is clearly not enough.
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things have not gotten better in the meantime in the last few days. may have gotten worse. i bought more has to be done to contain this virus to help people weather the storm in the meantime. the crisis is unprecedented and in the best interest of public health with effectively chosen to pump the brakes on our economy. we decided to do that as a country because it is in the best interest of our public health but, unfortunately, that means businesses of all sizes, small, begin, large are having to either shutter their doors or slow down their production, letting people go, so money parts of our economy now are feeling the pain of this rapid slogan applications for unemployment and ohio this week as compared to last week increased 20 fold. that means there was a 2000% increase in ohio on claims for unemployment. obviously that is overwhelming the system. i've worked with my colleagues on stop of the past three days
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to put together this phase three package that will provide some relief to millions of american workers and small businesses who have made our country and our economy the strongest in the world. our goals are simple. first, slow the spread of the virus. again if that doesn't happen, peoples help health is at riskd the negative economic impact that is hurting so many families will continue. so slowing the spread of the virus is not just about the virus. it's also our economy. second, we need to help employersis to continue paying their employees through this crisis. our objective to be to keep people at work, keep them connected t to their employer as much as possible. that'sy where they get their healthcare. that's with a get the retirement for the most part. that enables us to be able to ensure that as we wrap up our economy, they can ramp up more quickly because people will be there at work. there won't be the process of hiring and retraining. so one of our objectives in this
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legislation is not just to slow the spread of the virus but also keep people at work to the extent possible. and third, recognizing that not every employee will be able to keep employees. even those who have some business going don't have enough business. we want to be sure we're providing the resources toen hep those individuals but these are the people who are falling between the cracks. they can stay work because there work no longer has any revenue. we need to assist those people. again as we talked about, ohio's unemployment claims have skyrocketed but so have unemployment claims all around the computer up on what is our coach is not to be able to come back until we slow the spread of this virus. i'mle pleased to say the phase three package with negotiated by the way accomplish all three of those objectives, all three. we do it through four major policy areas to we do it now right away to bring relief to the people we are representing
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which is why we're to pass this legislation and pass it now. first in terms of helping people, , this phase three packe provides direct payments. thesend are direct payments, checks individuals, $1200 per person. if you are a couple it's $2400. and. and then it's $500 per child. that check getting out to people would give people some extra dollars to make the difference in big apple to pay bills, paying a car payment, paying rent, being able to put food on the table. it will give t people some comft to know that there's at a leasa little help coming directly and quickly. of worke who are out these checks also serve as a bridge to getting into the new unemployment insurance system i'll talk about now. because the checks are going to be necessary. in most states is going to take a couple of weeks, a few weeks. in some states several weeks to set up the system. in ohio they say two weeks.
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this is the most significant expansion of our unemployment insurance system in history, by far. it's going to significant expand the number of individuals who are eligible to receive benefits particularly self-employed. so broad as those who qualify for unemployment insurance. these folks but we have never been covered by an opponent insurance before. what's more p it provides a flat increase of $600 per week per person in the unappointed insurance system. this means that for low, low median income folks from 40-3000 bucks a year, it will essentiallypl have wage replacement now through unemployment interest. this this is a big difference. and an opponent insurance is i one-third of your wages for the same individuals. now it will be topped up. so to the point that this is highly partisan bill, i'm sorry, this legislation reflects the priorities of democrats and
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republicans. and this isge an example of tha. and we have two of knowledge it. is the bill perfectly no. no bill is perfect certainly gwen graham tried responder crisis like this and we are pumping out more of our federal tax dollars and borrowed federal treasury dollars than ever in history of our country through this process would you add the phase one, a two, phase three. .. >> to be able to help heem, to to have the financial security to pay their bills and to stay afloat and by the way, we have funds to state and federal offices to fund their costs as
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they shift to this dramatic new system provided through this legislation. so that's for people directly. second, the stimulus package is going to provide relief for small businesses trying to stay afloat making sure they will have access to credit and liquidity needed to weather this storm. one is through a major expansion, what's called the small business administration 7-a loan program, this is going through businesses that are currently providing funding to small businesses. so it's a community bank. it's the savings and loan. it's the credit union. it's the regional bank, wherever people are banking they'll be able to get these loans directly. specifically we're providing hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to small and medium sized businesses they can use for a variety of expenses, including payroll, including paying rent, paying mortgages and by the way, if they use it for that, the loan is forgiven. it really converts into a
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grant. if they use it for payroll, again, let me repeat, to keep workers, because that's one of the objectives here, if they use it for rent, if they use it for mortgage payments, the loan is written often entirely and this is why the small businesses are excited they want to keep their employees and keep their doors open. they're waiting on the edge of their seats seeing what we do tonight and tomorrow. i've talked to many businesses back home who say i can wait until monday, but i can't wait any longer. i'm bleeding cash. i have no revenue. i want to keep my people, i want to try to keep the doors open. you've got to give us some help. as i said before, the best way to protect workers and get our economy back up and running is to enable employers to keep paying their employees. this new program for small and medium sized businesses does just that. for businesses that might not
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be eligible for sba loans, phase 3 stimulus helps provide immediate liquidity through a number of ways, large businesses say over 500 employees, one is through the tax code, specifically our bill provides businesses that allow businesses that allow them to put cash in the hands of companies to keep their employees employed and back up and running when the crisis is over. these tax incentives are things not having to pay the employer side of the f. fica, give us a break on that for 2020 and we can keep our doors open. that's probably the biggest single one. guess what in 2021, and 2022 they've got to pay that back. the best part of the tax incentives, the large majority of timing changes. direct reductions in taxes in 2020 when they need it, much of that reduction is going to be
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paid back in coming years. based on the ref estimates we've seen, the tax provisions could provide up to $500 billion in immediate cash flow increases. again, with more than half paid back to the federal government during the budget window. third, the phase three package takes precise and targeted measures to relieve particularly distressed industries at risk of member rajjing jobs and closing down if we don't. i know the democratic leaders said he doesn't think that help should go to businesses. i understand that democrats want to give more help to some businesses so i guess they'll pick and choose the businesses, but in this case, these are the businesses that we all know are unfortunately facing the possibility of shutting down unless we do something. think of the airline industries. think of the airlines that right now have seen their passengers be reduced by 80, some say 90%, think of the
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airports that are closing. think of the hotel businesses. think of the other travel and tourism businesses. entertainment businesses. so these folks will be able to access what's called the exchange stablization fund to be able to get a loan and by the way, they'll have to pay back that loan, but it is the federal government stepping in and providing a backup so that they can get that loan and be able to stay in business. so that's the three aspects that help workers, that help small businesses, that help with regard to all businesses and then finally, and i think most importantly, perhaps, in this legislation, is funding and policy changes to slow the spread of the virus. frankly, as i view this, this is to buy time. it's to buy time for us to be able to increase the capacity of our health care system. this phase three package ensures that the men and women
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who are on the front lines of this epidemic every day get more support. it increases funding, which we've already increased once, but additional 4.5 billion for the centers for disease control. that 4.5 billion dollars, 1.5 billion of it has to go to the states. this is going to ensure that we can continue to monitor and respond to this virus as this pandemic continues. i think this is incredibly important. it also sends more money out to ensure that we can get these anti-viral therapies going. think of tamiflu for influenza, in the crisis, as we turn things around, has the ability to keep people healthier should they contract the virus. to me, maybe the most important parts of this legislation, because i believe in order to get our great country back on track and get people back to work, we need to have some sort of metrics in place.
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so maybe the most important part is to get better data on the true public health risk that's out there and this legislation does that. it enables us to know now that we have more and faster testing out there finally and we needed more testing early, but now that we have that, how many new infections are there? that's probably the best measurement we have out there. how many new cases are there? this legislation provides the funding and provides the direction to support the public health officials at every level to get better and more acceptable results every day, report it to the c.d.c. from your local health authority, from your state department of health, those should be reported publicly every single day, but also, all of that data needs to come to the national centers for disease control every day so that we can know truly what's going on out there because we don't have that data now and to have that data is going to give us a better understanding to be able to measure both the crisis
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as it stands and the health care risks that we face and measure success as it starts to happen because we need to be able to measure that success to get people back to work, to get people back to their families, to get people back on track in their lives. so this bill provides an increase in funding for health care, a major increase in addition to what i just talked about. about 100 billion dollars for hospitals and all health care providers with 75 billion be appropriated to hhs in order to be able to support our health care systems in a more flexible manner. about 30 billion in medicare payment increases for hospitals that are directly treating patients with coronavirus. this is what they're asking for. finally, we have a couple of key proposals that we championed over the years to support people with disabilities, particularly in institutional settings that are increased risk of contracting a virus, that's in this legislation. we have the money follows the person program which supports
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transitioning medicaid from dangerous settings where some of them are in where there's a lot of activity, into home-based long-term care. that's important, too. as i said earlier, these are exceptional times. not since the influenza epidemic of 1918, 102 years ago, has the united states of america been so swept up by a health care crisis like this. i'm pleased with some of the steps we've taken so far at the federal level to respond to this pandemic. we talked about them tonight. phase one, 8.3 billion on health care. phase two, beginning the process of helping health care workers and people get back to work and health care more. and phase three, unprecedented amount of support from american taxpayers to ensure we can get people through this. help them weather the storm. and again, these are republican ideas and democratic ideas through a process where we had
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forecast forces that were bipartisan. we worked long hours. i was part of one of those task forces. now we need to get this legislation passed, the american people deserve it. they deserve a congress that does everything in its power to minimize the damage caused by the coronavirus. so let's put the partisanship aside and get to a vote on this package as soon as possible, not 24 hours. let's do it now. let's do it now. we owe that to the people we represent. i yield back my time. >> mr. president. >> the senator from-- yes, from illinois. >> thank you, very much, mr. president. about of my colleague leaves from the state of 0 e-ohio i would like to note one issue he did not raise which we have in
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common, that is the issue of voting on the floor of the united states senate in times of national emergency. senator portman and i have co-sponsored legislation to address this issue. acknowledging in our introduction of it a few days ago that we would face something that we did this evening, where five of our senate colleagues were unable to come to the floor of the senate and vote because they're in self-quarantine at this moment. this could grow. let's be very honest about it and the numbers could grow to the point, it could reach an extreme where there's a question of an actual quorum on the floor of the senate. what senator portman on the republican side and i have introduced with him on the democratic said, a verifiable tech knowledge and procedure and the members can vote, once we're in a time of an emergency, members can vote and not be on the floor on the
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senate. and some you noticed on my side and your side came here quickly and left and they're genuinely concerned about social distance and contagion and i understand that very much. i share their concern. so, i would just say to my friend from ohio, we're certainly not going to call this measure tonight, but i hope we call it soon. it's time for us to have this conversation how to protect members and their families and staff and their families and the way we vote on the floor of the senate when we're facing a public health crisis such as the with unwe have at this moment. i'd be happy to yield for a question of the chair. >> i appreciate that. my comment is thank you for your support of this nt 0er 0 side of the-- on the other side of the aisle, this is a bipartisan effort so we are able to do our duty as the legislative branch, article one, we have responsibilities here, this is our duty station and yet, if we cannot be here, we still need to be able to do it remotely and with the
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technology we now have, we have the ability to do that, as my colleague from illinois has said in a safe and secure way so i thank him for his advocacy of this and my hope is that we can have this as a possibility should we not be able to gather and i think what's happened in the last several hours we've learned about our colleagues who are self-quarantining, one who tested positive as i understand it, it's very important that we have that ability. so i thank my colleague, i yield back. >> i thank the senator from ohio. this is a bipartisan measure, as it should be. it affects both sides of the aisle. we're all vulnerable, and if we can find a practical solution which respects the integrity of the voting process in the united states senate, let's do it. this as we've drawn it up in the earliest version has to be agreed to by both leaders, democrat and republican to go forward and do it for 30 days at a time, renewable for another 30 days with a vote of
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three-fifths of the member to go forward an additional 30 days. so this is not a permanent change, but it's a change that may be necessary if we face the public health emergency or a terrorist threat, god forbid or something of that nature. so i thank the senator from ohio and i want to just-- i know he's preparing to depart and i thank him not only for his remarks, but for the tone of his remarks because what i sensed from the senator from ohio the genuine feeling that we can achieve this goal of coming up with this critical third piece of legislation and do it with both sides of the aisle working together. the american public has a very low opinion of those of us who serve in congress as much as we respect the institutions and so many of us have given so many years of our lives to them, but i think they've been pleasantly surprised the first two measures we have passed they were done on a timely basis and done on a bipartisan basis. so when we address the resources to fight this
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covid-19, when we talked about providing free testing and medical leave, and unemployment insurance being accelerated and food and medicaid reimbursement to states, it was done quickly and it was done with both house and senate together on a bipartisan basis. i think that should be the standard. i'm sorry today we stumbled. i wish that the senator from kentucky, the majority leader, would have withheld calling this vote this evening because i do believe that there are serious negotiations underway, even as we meet on this floor. and another part of this building, those conversations are taking place. i've heard a lot of speeches on the floor, if you listen carefully to the comments of the democratic leader senator schumer, they were positive and he really, i felt, gave me the impression that even in the last several hours there have been some steps forward. there are key elements that need to be resolved, but i feel confident that we can reach that point and we must. the first and highest priority
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from our side of the aisle, we share. you've said it, we all would say it. we've got to slow down and stop the spread of covid-19 in the united states of america, unless and until we do that, there's nothing that we can do to repair and restore this economy that has any promise. we have got to reach the point where we have crested and start to see a decline in infections in our country so that we can start envisioning the moment when we can get back in business as america. that moment couldn't come anytime too soon for me or for all of us across the united states. that's why we said, a martial plan for health care and hospitals is our highest priority. i would concede the bill you have has substantial resources, but i must add from my point of view, listening to my hospital administrators in illinois, it's not enough. it isn't going to be enough and we are going to quickly see our health care system overwhelmed if we don't invest now and invest dramatically. many of these hospitals in my
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state have said to me and they said it publicly as well, that their revenue sources, primarily outpatient treatment and elective surgery have been pushed aside because so many patients are coming through the emergency room door complaining of symptoms that are consistent with covid-19. they have to take them as a priority and they can't schedule elective surgeries, and so the revenues coming to many of these hospitals, not just in chicago, but across the state, have been compromised. so from the financial viewpoint, let's make sure that this third bill we're debating puts an adequate amount of money in for these hospitals. they are our first line of defense against the spread of this virus across america. and i think we all agree that should be done. i continue to be frustrated, and i know my governor, jb pritzker shares this frustration that all of the promises and all of the press conferences at the white house and other places about all of the testing kits and all of the equipment headed our way have
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not borne fruit. we don't see it. we're waiting for evidence of it. we're not testing nearly enough people in our state. a state of 1.7 billion-- million people, i'm sorry, 1.7 million-- 17.7 million people, excuse me, is a state that needs more than just 350 tests a month. so what we need to do is to make sure that we do this and have the testing kits available so we can map the increase or decrease in infections and we can chart specifically the spread of the disease in our state, which i hope is moderated very, very soon. the equipment, the protective equipment, we have people who are volunteering to make masks at home, we're so desperate to supply the needs for protective equipment at all levels. it's not nearly enough and it needs to be done. let me also say a moment about the role of the speaker in this. i listened to the republican senator leader to speak in somewhat questionable terms to be kind about the role of
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speaker pelosi in the conversation about this third bill. i must say it's pretty obvious if we're going to pass this measure and do it with dispatch, we need to have cooperation on both side of the rotunda, not just a bill acceptable for the senate, but to the house as well. so when speaker pelosi comes to the table, it's important that she be there, along with leader mccarthy and the house republican leadership, so that all four corners are represented. that's exactly what senator schumer suggested at the earliest stages that we have the four corners of leadership come together with representatives from the white house and reach a truly bipartisan agreement that way. so the fact that speaker pelosi is interested, she should be. she should be more than interested, she should be at the table and involved in making a decision on this. let me tell you the cash payments are important. we have never opposed them, we've said that we want to extend unemployment insurance, there is a proposal for that, the duration of this extension is important to our side, it is
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a critical element which i hope we can quickly reach an agreement on. when it comes to the 7-a loans made to small businesses, senator rubio and senator carden have worked on this for a long time and i think they're very close to a bipartisan measure that we can agree on. the phase three effort that senator mark warner and others have focused on, really takes into account certain corporations with more than 500 employees who definitely need a helping hand. when it comes to the largest corporations, i hope you can understand the reservations which some of us have. we want to make certain that the money going to these corporations isn't paid out in dividends or in stock buybacks so that someone ends up getting rich at the expense of a truly bipartisan effort to help the workers at those corporations, which are our highest priority. we can have restrictions so that these moneys are not abused and misused and i hope that we can do that as part of
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this agreement. let me close by saying that i do believe that we can close this deal. i don't know if it can be done tonight. i pray that it will be. if there are people in good faith op both sides of the table, it will be. if it's truly bipartisan, i believe we can reach the goal that we're all seeking. let's get this done. let's restore the confidence of the american people in this congress that we can act on a bipartisan basis, on a timely basis to respond quickly to what is one of the greatest challenges i've ever lived through in this nation. the american people and our neighborhoods and towns and cities across america are proving every day that they have the courage and determination to see their way through this challenge, first an and foremost, our health care workers, god bless them at every level. doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and those working with the elderly are risking their lives every day in their mission to deal with this crisis. we should do no less when it comes to our responsibility in the united states senate and a word about our first
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responders, whether it's the police or firefighters or those in medical professions, those, too, are doing their job regardless of the threat to them personally. so, we should, in that spirit, resolve this matter and resolve is quickly. i believe we can do it, i believe there's a feeling of goodwill and determination on both sides of the aisle here in the united states senate. and i hope that it can even be accomplished this evening. i stand by what senator schumer said earlier, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. let's try to pursue it, both parties and get it done as quickly as possible. mr. president, i yield the flo floor. >> mr. president, the senior senator from south dakota. >> mr. president, we don't have the luxury of time here and i think we all know that. certainly, american people know it, they can see it, sort of just unfolding right in front of them. we've got small businesses that are shutting down, which of
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course, affects the people who work there. we've got health care systems that have tremendous needs and obviously, they're on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus. we continue to try and make progress on a piece of legislation that really should have been proceeded to today. the vote we had earlier today was a procedural vote, are we going to get on the bill and what we saw was the democrats object to even getting on the bill. now, obviously, as the leader pointed out, once you're on the bill, you have 30 hours, if you choose to use it, in which to continue to discuss and debate, if there are things that they're continuing to work on, certainly, they could have that opportunity to do that, but the vote today, which you saw the democrats oppose, was simply whether or not we were going to get on the bill. a bill that is desperately needed by our country right now and i would argue that the american people are looking to
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us for action. and frankly, as i said, we just don't have the luxury of time. and the democratic leader got up earlier and said that this is a-- this is a partisan bill, and that's just false. that's just flatly untrue, mr. president. this was the past few days between democrats and republicans. leader mcconnell appointed several task forces and the democratic leader represented -- appointed representatives on his side and they've been on the bill for the past few days. frankly what you see the legislation in front of us reflects that work and there was a tremendous amount of bipartisan content in this bill. the democrats had ample opportunities to make their case and try to get things included that they said they wanted. and just to sort of highlight, again, what the democrats said their priorities were in this
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legislation, phase three, if you will, it was about workers, it was about small businesses, it was about unemployment insurance, they called it unemployment insurance on steroids, it was about hospitals, and i have to say that i see in this piece of legislation all of that. what they just voted to even debate includes all of those elements. in fact, if you look at what this bill includes, if you're talking about providing help to families and people who really need it in this country immediately, $1200 checks to individual taxpayers, $2400 to a couple who filed jointly and that runs through income levels, all the way up, if you're a single taxpayer, $75,000 phases out at about 99,000 dollars for couples filing jointly, $150,000 phases out after that. and then $500 for each child in this country. and that was something that was
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a priority for both sides. the democrats wanted to have that in this legislation, and there were many republicans who did as well. the president, that's something that he supported. so that was a bipartisan priority that ended up in this legislation. it will bring immediate relief, dollars back in the hands of american families to enable them to deal with their daily needs and as best they can with the crisis that we have unfolding in front of us. and then you had, of course, a priority, a huge priority for the democrats, which was the so-called ui on steroids, the unemployment insurance program ap and i have to say my colleague senator portman did a great job of laying out the elements of this legislation. he mentioned unemployment was a big one for the democrats. and there's a commitment to topping off the unemployment accounts that the states maintain. $600 per week for three months,
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into those unemployment accounts so if you're unemployed in this country and you go down to the unemployment office in your state, what you would normally receive in terms of a benefit would be increased by $600 per week, per person, for three months. that was a huge priority for the democrats and one that republicans as well believed was important. so, we have not only the checks going out immediately that will benefit families, but we also have now an unemployment insurance program through-- delivered through the state that will provide assistance to those who have lost jobs. and then, of course, we had another priority, the democrats mentioned was they wanted to provide assistance, much needed assistance to small businesses. and if you look at what's in this bill for small businesses, there is basically a loan program operated under the small business administration in which participating lenders, that could include commercial banks, credit unions as i
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mentioned earlier, where small businesses could go to get loans, 100% guaranteed, with i if used to pay payroll and if used to keep their employees employed during this period would be forgiven at the end to a total tune of $350 billion total as part of this package, that's what it adds up to, but that again is a benefit that would go out for the next eight weeks to small businesses and if used to keep their employees employed, in other words, keep them contacted to their jobs in hopes when this thing passes, that those jobs will still be there. so $350 billion there, 300 billion for checks that would go out to families, as i said earlier and $250 billion to plus up the unemployment insurance accounts that the states maintain. those are all benefits that will go out to workers in this country to employees, to keep people afloat, if you will,
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until we get to a better time, hopefully not too far ahead of us. so, those are all priorities that both sides had, and that's just what democrats voted against. but we have the vote earlier about whether to even get on the bill, whether to debate the bill, they voted no. they voted no in block. so as you saw shortly after that, a significant drop in the futures market and i think that the markets in addition to the american people, are looking to us to provide confidence, to provide a shot in the arm to suggest that we get what's at stake and how important it is that we respond, not only swiftly, but in a bold and big way. and so those are just a few of the things that were included in there, that are democrat priorities and represent the work of a bipartisan task force. now, the democrats have argued that perhaps, you know, there's too much in here that-- in the form of bailouts, well, there is a provision in here
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through the federal reserve that would allow loans to be paid to companies who need cash flow, who need liquidity and obviously, those are loans that would be paid back. so i don't know how you can argue something as a bailout when people are getting loans, businesses are getting loans that ultimately have to be paid back. but that's a provision of the bill, but if you don't have that in there, a lot of those businesses that through no-fault of their own, have been shuttered or asked to shut down, i'm using good examples, notable examples, the airlines, basically are not operating. 10%, maybe 20%, but more likely from what i'm hearing 10% of their normal loads, they're going to have huge hits to their balance sheets. and other companies like those across this country, right now, who are feeling a tremendous amount of economic harm, and the reason that's important,
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mr. president, is because those people, those companies, those businesses employ thousands, millions, of workers across this country. and if we want to keep people employed in this country, we have to keep those businesses functioning and operating in a way that will enable them to continue to make payroll. and so, yes, there's a provision in there that helps businesses sort of get liquidity, a loan, if you will, capital, if you will, to bridge hopefully a better time, but those loans eventually, obviously, would be paid back. so the democrats were very insi insi insi insistant there not be a bailout for big businesses. i don't see how you could say it's a bailout for big businesses, it would businesses have access to loans they could use to keep their businesses up and operating. so those are just a few of the features in the legislation that was just voted down or
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even whether or not to debate it or not was by the democrats. and i want to mention one last thing here, mr. president, that the democrats also voted against. even debating, when they came out here and all voted against this, is a significant amount of money going to those entities that we know are on the front lines of fighting this virus. and we've all said that the best way to get the economy back on track, the best way to see things restored to normal in this country, is to defeat the virus. well, there are significant resources in this legislation that are designed just to do that. 75 billion dollars going to hospitals and another 20 or 25 billion dollars that will go to hospitals through other programs, mandatory part of the spending, this comes through the appropriations bill.
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so these are discretionary funds. so about 100 billion in there for hospitals. 20 billion for veterans health care, of course, veterans, hospitals and health care facilities are really critical to caring for a critical group of people in this country, those who have defended and fought for our freedoms. 11 billion dollars for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other preparedness needs. in other words, all the things we hear talked about in addition to gloves and masks and ventilators, those sorts of things and also the money going into vaccines. the ultimately the way we're going to beat this, we've got to have a vaccine, mr. president so 11 billion in there for that, 4.5 billion for the centers for disease control which was also plussed up in terms significantly in the last two bills that we passed, the one most recently earlier this week had significant additional resources in there for the c.d.c. 1.7 billion for the strategic
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national stockpile. 12 billion for america's military, which i think we all agree is a priority for everyone here. national security is always an issue that we pay a lot of attention to, particularly in time of crisis. $10 billion for block grants to states, just directly to block grants to states. $12 billion for k-12 education, anothered 6 billion for higher education. $5 billion for fema, disaster relief fund. $10 billion for airports, and obviously, airports are very much impacted by the-- just the complete drop-off when it comes to air traffic in this country. $20 billion for public transportation emergency relief. that adds up to, mr. president, $242 billion dollars on top of all the things that i just mentioned, going to things that we think are really strategic when it comes to defeating this
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virus and combatting it and making sure that those resources are available to those who are on the front lines and doing that. so all told, about $242 billion dollars, 75% or 186 billion dollars goes through the states. and the democrats say we need more money for the states, we need more money for the states, well, this is a pretty, i would think, significant amount. 186 billion dollars out of the $242 billion that i just described runs through the states. and so, there is a tremendous amount of support for those who are on the front lines trying to fight and defeat this coronavirus, mr. president. so i just point all of that out to say again that it is a complete misnomer to say, as a democratic leader did earlier, that this was a partisan bill. this is a bipartisan bill, and
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i participated in one of those working groups and i sat from across from my democratic counterpart, or at times, more than one, and with staffs and we came to the table with a set of priorities and they came to the table with a set of priorities and what this represents, not everything they wanted, probably not everything that we wanted, but things that we could find that we could agree upon. so this was a very bipartisan process which incorporated the ideas of both republicans and democrats. it is truly unfortunate, frankly sad, sad day, i would argue, here in the united states senate and for our country, that the democrats opted just a moment ago to vote not even to get on this bill. not even to proceed to it. to give us the opportunity to have that, continue that discussion, that debate and they indicated there are still discussions going on and i hope that's the case. i said this before, we don't have the luxury of time,
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mr. president. we need action, we need action now, not later, now. the american people need to see relief. they need to see confidence in their elected leaders and a willingness to work in a bipartisan way on a solution, perhaps many solutions, hopefully, included in this legislation, to the challenges that they're facing in their everyday lives. so i'd say it's unfortunate. we're not going to be on this bill right now. i hope and pray for the sake of our country and for the people who are not only suffering from the coronavirus, those who have loved ones and those exposed to it, and those who are caring for them, but also for every worker, every small business in this country that the democrats will reconsider and allow us to get on this legislation and move forward in a bipartisan way, on a bipartisan bill, which they helped fashion and craft, that it's critical to the challenges that we are
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facing in the days and the weeks ahead. mr. president, i yield the floor. >> mr. president, the senior senator from mississippi. >> thank you, mr. president. the senator from south dakota has said it well and i just want to come down here today to echo that we've had so many misstatements made by people on the other side of the aisle this afternoon and this evening that i just think it cries out for explanations. senator thune is correct, this is a bipartisan bill that we're asking for consideration on it, we're asking that a vote be taken so that we can have the final 30 hours of debate and get to it tomorrow. america's crying out for this. the financial markets are watching us and our economy is teetering on the brink. we need to get this done. i, too, was in one of the working groups, mr. president,
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and we had equal numbers of democratic and republican senators in this working group with their staffs, with their laptops and much of what is in the bill was hammered out with the input of democratic and republican members of this working group and there were a few issues, yes, that we couldn't resolve so we kicked it up through the democratic leader and the majority leader to be hammered out, perhaps in consultation with the administration, but far and away, most of this legislation is bipartisan in nature and it just pains me for somehow the accusation could be made that this is nothing, but a partisan bill written by the republican leader. what is this about? the american people need to understand this, mr. president. this is about getting money to
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average workers so that they can pay their bills and so they can stay employed. it involves enhanced and lengthened unemployment insurance and it is a provision given to us and signed and conceived by our democratic friends. we felt it was worth doing and we put it in the bill. also, there is, as the distinguished gentleman from south dakota said, there is 350 billion dollars to small businesses to keep workers from ever being unemployed in the first place, to keep them on the job. so small businesses will have an opportunity to receive a cash infusion and this could happen as early as this coming week. and they would be able to use this money to pay the salaries and those people would never have to go on unemployment
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insurance because they would still be on the job. that's what's in this bill. that's what we need to get to a conclusion about and send on over to the house of representatives tomorrow morning. it, of course, involves checks from the government, massive checks. a massive amount of checks to middle income americans to just give them a little something in their accounts so that they can pay the bills in response to this economic downturn that we've had. the and then it involves loans to keep americans working. and this is something that i in particular was working on with my republican colleagues and with democrats on this working group. the airline business in this country is about to shut down. passenger rates are single digits. they can't stay afloat with this. and so, it pains me to hear our
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solution to this problem to keep airline workers working, it pains me to hear this described by my democratic friends as a bailout. that's what would happen if we were just going to hand over cash to the airlines, to keep them afloat, but that's not what we're doing. what we're doing is offering to pay loans, quick loans to the airline companies so this they can continue to pay their employees and keep them on the job and not put them on the unemployment rolls. these loans would be made at market rates. there would be no loan forgiveness and they must be paid back. not a grant, not a bailout. it's just offensive to me to hear some of my friend that perhaps have not read the bill
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and are not as thoroughly versed on its provisions as we are that actually wrote the bill to describe this as a bailout for corporate america. nothing could go further from the truth. there were some people asking us to make grants to the big airline companies. we rejected that on a bipartisan basis, mr. president, and said, no, these must be loans. once the airlines get back on their feet and once this coronavirus outbreak has subsided, they will be in good shape again. and they'll be able to pay it back with market interest rates, just like any other business that has to take out a loan, but we've got to get this money to them in a hurry. and so i just object and have to come down here and say that perhaps they're confused. perhaps they haven't read the bill as i have.
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but it makes available loans to the airline industry, and to other related industries that are critical to national security. and if i might, mr. president, let me just read a sentence or two from the bill itself. this is bill language i'm quoting. the secretary may enter into agreement to make loans or loan guarantees to one or more eligible businesses, the applicant must be a business which is-- for which credit is not reasonably available, they can go out and borrow money from ban banks, that this doesn't apply to them. our airlines are going to need more money than that, and so this says that they must be paid back. the loan or loan guarantee must be sufficiently secured. again, i'm reading from bill language the duration of the loan or loan guarantee is as
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short as practice particularable. now my friend from illinois, the tone that he and my friend from ohio used a moment ago. i think there's a good possibility that minds of goodwill can come to an agreement tonight. the realities on the ground in our country demand that. and cry out for it. but again, i must take issue with my friend from illinois saying that there were no restrictions on the loans that we're giving to the airline industry that we're going to allow the secretary of the treasury to give. and he mentioned specifically we need to prohibit stock buybacks. these airline companies are going to get these loans, we need to have a provision in the
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law that prohibits stock buybacks. as a matter of fact, mr. president, that is in the bill that we wanted to take up and we were unable to get a vote on, unable to get the requisite number of votes just an hour or so ago. we prohibit in the bill loans from being used by the company to buy back their stock. here is bill language. subparagraph e except to the except under contractual obligation in effect of the date of enactment of this act, the agreement prohibits the eligible business from repurchasing any outstanding equity interest while the loan or loan guarantee is outstanding. so no corporate buybacks. we have answered one of the concerns that the democratic whip mentioned in his remarks. none of this money can go to
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increase executive salaries, it must be repaid and must be repaid with interest. our bill has explicit prohibitions against any loan forgiveness for any of the loans in this entire section. this is hardly a bailout, mr. president. we are offering a lifeline, again, this bipartisan language hammered out by republicans and democrats, offered as a lifeline to critical companies who would probably not survive and we do it by providing carefully crafted and restricted loans to protect the taxpayers. without these loans being available in the very next few days, some of these companies will file bankruptcy. many thousands of these employees will lose their jobs. and we are trying to pass this bill to keep that from
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happening. 128,000 workers in one company, 92,000 workers in another company. 79,000 workers in yet another. and so, i would just say to my frien friends, let's negotiate these last few details and get this do done, but don't misrepresent this as a big giveaway to corporate america, this is designed to help. an americans who are suffering and the threatening of the loss of their jobs. now, the majority whip mentioned the appropriations portion of this and again, this is money that's needed. americans need to know what is in the discretionary appropriated part of this bill and so, let me just tell you, more than 75% of it, 186
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billion dollars of the total will go to state and local governments to help them get over this-- over the hump in this terrible crisis. i was-- i've been contacted by officials from state and local government and i told them that this bill has 186 billion dollars to help them get through this crisis. i thought i was going to be able to tell them that they-- that this would be enacted in the next day or two. unfortunately, i was a little overoptimistic on that, but 186 billion for state and local government. 75 billion dollars for hospitals. clearly they need it. $20 billion for the veterans administration, 11 billion dollars for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostic and preparedness needs. now, if there are larger needs, come and tell us that and we'll work with people, but this is a
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generous bill. $4.5 billion dollars for the centers for disease control. 1.7 billion dollars for the strategic national stockpile. $12 billion to assist the military in addressing this coronavirus. $12 billion for k through 12 education, $6 billion for higher education, $5 billion for fema, disaster relief funds. there's $10 billion in it for airports. my colleagues have heard from airports and $20 billion for public transportation. this is an injection of appropriated money to keep this economy going until this virus subsides. it's an injection of loan money through some large businesses and an opportunity, also, for the federal reserve within their discretion under a program that's been established
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for decades and decades, to loan money not only to big companies, but medium sized companies and small companies under a federal reserve program commonly known as section 13, subparagraph 3. so i would just say to my colleagues, mr. president, before we come down here and make inaccurate statements, read the bill. understand what we're doing, understand that this is to get money to workers who need to stay on the job. this is a bill to get unemployment benefits to workers who are already off the job and an injection of cash into our economy and a prop up on a loan basis with interest to be repaid to keep the airlines and related businesses afloat. i hope we pass this. i know americans are hoping and prayingor


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